Let's Pope mass upgrade of Vatican Library data centre is blessed with some of that famed infallibility

Because those 80,000 codices are getting a bit oldy-moldy now

The Sistine Hall of the Vatican Library

The Holy See has upgraded the data centre used to preserve the extensive collection of historic documents held in the Vatican Apostolic Library.

It has dismantled the old bit barn and replaced it with a small, self-contained facility with new networking infrastructure and eight server cabinets in a hot containment system.

"We needed a solution that embraced new technologies and a provider with the expertise to enable the Vatican Apostolic Library to easily extend its services to readers of future generations," Luciano Ammenti, IT director of the library, told the French edition of CIO Online.

The new data centre was built by Panduit – the US company mostly known for network infrastructure and industrial electrical wiring.

The Vatican Library was officially established in 1475, making it one of the oldest libraries in the world. It contains around 80,000 codices made of vellum and papyrus dating back to the third century BC, including Codex Vaticanus, one of the oldest copies of the Bible.

It also stores 1.6 million books, more than 300,000 coins and medals, 150,000 prints, drawings and engravings – and is open to anyone who can document their qualifications and research needs.

Being so very old, the documents are sensitive to light, temperature and humidity. In order to make it more accessible to researchers, the Vatican started scanning this treasure trove back in 2010. The scans also serve as backup if any misfortune befalls the library itself. The first stage of the project aims to digitise all 80,000 codices – and the job is not nearly done.

To speed up the process, Panduit completely dismantled the obsolete facility and replaced it with eight of its Net-Access Type S server cabinets in a hot aisle containment configuration, wired together using a combination of fibre and 10G copper. The project also involved servers from Dell EMC, cooling from Stulz and UPS systems from Borri.

In addition, Panduit deployed SmartZone DCIM gateways that collect the data from attached devices like PDUs and temperature sensors. The DCIM (data centre infrastructure management) system enables the IT staff to monitor both energy consumption and environmental conditions.

All of the manuscripts scanned by the Vatican Library are available to the public at the DigiVatLib website. ®

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